Pataki boosts plan to unearth Saw Mill River in Yonkers
Gov. George Pataki added $10 million on Thursday to a project that would uncover part of a river in a downtown area where it has long been restricted to tunnels beneath paved-over streets and squares.
Yonkers is hoping that the daylighting of the Saw Mill River will spark investment for a $3.1 billion redevelopment plan for the downtown area that includes shops, cafes, apartments and a minor league baseball park.
The 20-mile-long Saw Mill River flows from Chappaqua, where former President Clinton lives, to Yonkers, where it empties into the Hudson River. About the last third of a mile of it is paved over.
Pataki said the pavement covering the river is underutilized, much of it serving only for parking.
At a news conference, the governor said the new money, with $24 million that was already provided in the state budget, means “we now have not just the idea and the plan but we have the resources to reopen the Saw Mill River right through the heart of downtown Yonkers.”
Pataki, who leaves office at the end of the year, said, “I won’t be the governor, but in a few years I look forward to sitting down in one of those cafes and maybe having a hamburger and a Diet Coke as the Saw Mill River flows by for the first time in over 100 years.”
Developer Louis Capelli, who has a hand in the development plan, called the opening of the river “a priceless development tool.”
After the news conference, held on the Hudson River waterfront, Pataki boarded a small ferry for a test run of a water-taxi route between Yonkers and lower Manhattan that is scheduled to begin service next spring.
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